On The Beat 11/17

Yes, Jimmy. There is a Santa Claus.

By Jim Bucher

Photo: Doc Claus has played Santa in the Dayton area for 50 years

 

OK, we all know Santa is real, and for you naysayers out there, well, bah humbug.

But I’ve always wondered how he can be in so many places at the same time?

Just like McDonald’s Santa franchises. That’s right—he contracts out with Santa helpers to appear at parties, the mall and your favorite pet food store. You know, pictures with Fido.

Wait, do people still call their dogs Fido?

I digress. But one of Santa’s most beloved assistants has been bringing joy to boys and girls right here for 50 years!

His name is Doc Claus.

“Helping Santa out started back in 1965,” says Doc Claus. “I played him for my sister’s boyfriend’s family party and have been doing it ever since.”

But wait, I buried the lead (as we say in the news business). How did this mild mannered man become “Doc” Claus?

“Had a beard since I got out of high school,” he says. “For eight years I was on Kettering Fire Department, and a year on Bellbrook with a mustache. I saved a person’s life so the group started calling me ‘doc’ and I thought, Hey, I play Santa, so now it is Doc Claus.”

Back then the beard had to be whitened for effect, now time has taken care of that.

“I’m getting better with age,” he says.

By the way, the Doc won’t reveal his real name. Says he’s wanted in three states.

“Most know me by ‘Doc’ Claus or Santa—that’s it,” says Mr. Claus with a jolly old chuckle. “So, we’ll leave it there.”

He has many stories in his half century as Santa.

“Wish I would have written them all down because [I] never figured on doing it for 50 years,” “Doc” reminisces. “But [there was] one was a little girl who had a brain tumor and went through a few surgeries. When I asked what she wanted for Christmas she said nothing, that she got presents from being sick and she really didn’t need anything. Please give presents to some kids that really want and need them, she said. I can tell you I had a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. When I told her parents they cried. That really got me.”

But the best part is meeting kids and adults alike, spreading a little holiday cheer.

“Kids and parents love you, and the smiles are priceless and it’s good for my heart. The hugs from the moms and grandmas are great! Knowing I can put smiles on other people faces and they really love that someone would do this. Once had a kid say to me, ‘I knew you were coming! Saw one of your elves peeking through the window earlier,’” he says.

This Santa’s helper is in big demand around about now, and not just locally.

“I go to people’s homes, businesses, clubs and private parties,” he says. “I won’t do malls and I have been asked by some of the biggest companies in the U.S. They would send me to a city, put me up, pay me very well, [but] I just can’t stop from doing it here in the area. I have got some great people that say I am family and I can tell you they are my family. [I] have watched so many over 50 years grow up, and then I hold their kids, and some I have even married, as I am also an ordained minister. Life is really good,” Claus says.

So wait, this Santa is also reverend? Pastor Claus? And speaking of, he reminds us what Christmas is all about.

“It’s the birth of Christ, the reason for the season,” he says. “That I get to do a job that most people would love to do and to look like Santa is very special to me, and loving every minute of it.”

By the way, Santa will be on hand at this Sunday’s 13th annual Hometown Holiday Walk in the Heart of Centerville from 1-5 p.m. Mrs. Doc Claus and some elves are scheduled to appear.

From there he’s all over the place through December 25.

My final question is, does he ever talk to the real Santa? You know, at the North Pole?

“Yes I do. He says, ‘Someday you just might take over for me!’ So, I can’t wait to be the big guy.”

Cheers and Merry Christmas!

 

Buch

To book Doc Claus, give him a call at 937.848.7771. Tell ‘em Buch sent you!

 

For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com

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For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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